War on Terror in the Book of Mormon

This article discusses ten conservative principles from the Book of Mormon.  One of them is this:

“9. Normal procedures can be changed during a war. In Alma 51:13, we read of a group of Nephites who hated their present administration and wanted it out of power. When they heard that the Lamanites were attacking, these men actually “were glad in their hearts” and refused to serve in the military. Good thing nothing like that is around today! (please note the sarcasm)

In Alma 51:19, when Moroni won a battle against these dissenters among the Nephite’s own population, “those of their leaders who were not slain in battle were taken and cast into prison, for there was no time for their trials at this period.”

So the prisoners of war were left in a holding tank since conducting the war took precedence over any due process the prisoners might receive. Even the habeus corpus procedures for Nephite citizens, apparently, could be suspended.

Critics of Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act might want to read these verses before their next protest. “

Here is my response:

Regarding number 9:
The war on terror is a much different war than the wars the Nephites fought to defend their lands. The reason trials were not held was clear: there was not time for their trials at this period. The Lamanite armies were invading (had invaded) Nephite lands. This is a completely different historical situation (not to mention geopolitical context) than the one we face today, when we face no invading army, but instead, a vague, undefinable, even amorphous threat of “terrorism.”

Pre-emptive war is categorically a failure in the Book of Mormon. Consider how the Nephites defeated the Gadianton robbers. They tried pre-emptive attack. It failed miserably, twice. In one instance, they had to gather themselves up and defend their lands to ultimately defeat them. Or alternately, they had to preach the Gospel. Pre-emptive war and subverting governments was the task of wicked Amalickiah and Zerahemnah, and even the Gadianton robbers, not the righteous Nephite leaders, such as Helaman, Alma, Moroni, and Mormon. Who is most subversive to global governments today in a manner that approaches Amalickiah and the Gadianton robbers?

Consider another example: the people of Limhi were in bondage. They were successful in repelling an invasion, but failed miserably in an offensive attack in an attempt to deliver themselves from bondage. Three times they failed. The Nephites, when righteous, never engaged in pre-emptive attacks, or even subverting the Lamanite government. They defended their homes, their families, and their religion.

Yes, they prepared militarily, (in that I agree with you) but they prepared to defend themselves, not to attack an enemy on their own soil.

His response to mine was very complimentary, for which I am grateful.



Filed under foreign policy, Libertarian, Mormonism, politics, role of government

3 responses to “War on Terror in the Book of Mormon

  1. ed42

    Excellent response.

  2. Thank you for your studied and thoughtful answer to a very unstudied and un-Christian position. Not that the man is not a Christian, but that his position cannot be supported by Christian doctrine or the life of Christ.

    When we twist scripture to defend the indefensible, I think God pities us even more than those who never know Him.

  3. plato04

    Ed42 and JC Garrett,

    Thank you for your positive comments.

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